“Man is largely a creature of habit, and many of his activities are more or less automatic reflexes from the stimuli of his environment.” – G. Stanely Hall
G. Stanely hall was a well-renowned American psychologist and educator. Born on 1st February 1844, in Ashfield, Masacheutteus he attended and graduated from William’s college in 1867. After that, he went on to study at the union theological seminary. He got inspired by the exceptional work of Wilhelm Wundt named as principles of physiological psychology. He acquired Ph.D in psychology from Harvard University under the supervision of Professor William James. He has the honor of being awarded with the first doctorate in psychology in America.
He wanted to start his career in academics after graduation but when he graduated there were no vacancy in the university. Then, he went on to study at the University of Berlin in Europe and worked at the Wundt’s Laboratory in 1879 for a short span of time. He started off his career as a teacher of philosophy and English at Antioch College in Ohio. He also taught history of philosophy at William’s College, the same college from where he graduated. He also has the honor of giving a series of valuable lectures at the prestigious John Hopkins University as well as Harvard University. Finally, he got successful in securing an academic position at John Hopkins teaching pedagogy and psychology. Hall also published a book on religious psychology entitled as “Jesus, the Christ, in the light of psychology” which presented the information and knowledge about Jesus in psychological terms. He is the pioneer of the first formal American psychology laboratory.
As an educationist he presented the idea that instead of preparing students for college, the high school should focus on the development of the mental capacity of students. He opposed and criticized on the traditional teaching style of the high schools which has handicapped the minds of the adolescents and has also moved them far away from free learning. He also has the honor of being the first president of APA (American Psychological Association) as well as the pioneer of American Journal of Psychology. He established Clark University and served as its president for 31 years.
G. Stanley Hall proposed a lot of theories on childhood development and worked significantly on gauging the numerous effects of the education system on the minds of adolescents. He phrased the terminology “storm and stress” in defining the phase of adolescence. According to his propositions a child’s mental capabilities develop just like his forefathers and he inherits their behavior and learning style. He also gave the concept of racial eugenics which means the genetic characteristics of certain race has an influence on its population intelligence, behavior and personality traits. Hall has also played a significant role in anomalistic psychology which is the psychology of behavior of humans and their experiences in connection to some paranormal activities. He was a very significant contributor to education literature. Aspects of German Culture, Hints toward a Select and Descriptive Bibliography of Education co-authored with John M. Mansfield and the Contents of Children’s Minds on Entering School are few of the many books penned down by him. He died on April 24th, 1924.